Good morning, Data Sheet readers. With Windows 10, your face now doubles as a secure log-in method. Larry Ellison is crowing over Oracle's cloud revenue. Plus, InsideSales.com just became an even bigger unicorn. Enjoy your Wednesday!
TOP OF MIND
Can Microsoft help make passwords obsolete? The official Windows 10 countdown begins this week with Microsoft’s declaration that the software will ship “this summer” in 190 countries.
One thing that the company hopes to eliminate with the release: passwords. It’s pushing various biometrics authentication options as a far more secure way to control access.
We’re not just talking just digital fingerprints. The software’s new “Windows Hello” feature will let someone unlock a system through facial recognition. By the way, the technology can tell the difference between your face and a printed photo.
Yes, of course you need special hardware to pull this off but Microsoft’s strategy is emerging alongside other advances in facial recognition that make this transition seem not only logical, but probable. The most notable: Google’s FaceNet system, intended for many different applications, including surveillance.
Oracle comes up short, as expected. The strong U.S. dollar weighed heavily on the software giant’s Q3 results: it reported $9.3 billion in revenue, which was flat compared with one year ago. Still, its cloud software sales are strong enough that it expects to reach $1 billion for this calendar year.
Notes Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison: “Salesforce.com has announced that it also expects to add about $1 billion of new [software as a service] and [platform as a service] business this year. So it’s going to be a close race who sells more in the cloud this year, us or them. Stay tuned.”
Salesforce Ventures leads another big investment for InsideSales.com. The latest round, which also includes Microsoft, totals $60 million. Its valuation now stands at $1.5 billion. The company’s software, which uses analytics to help sales representatives close deals faster, is used by more than 2,000 businesses including ADP, Fidelity, Groupon, Marketo, Microsoft and Sprint. Right now, InsideSales.com is on a hiring spree: it has 600 employees, with plans to hire another 300 to 400 more this year. In the past three months alone, it has added several senior sales execs and a new chief technology officer, formerly with eBay.
Another painful healthcare data breach. The attack against Premera Blue Cross, from Washington state, affected 11 million customers and apparently went undetected for seven months. What’s more, the break-in mimics methods used in the far larger Anthem breach disclosed last month, leading some to believe the two incidents are related.
When might Mom want a new smartphone? Facebook (in collaboration with Deloitte) just published a treasure trove of data about mothers that should have marketers swooning. One insight: women with children generally post more photos, which means they probably switch handsets faster than non-mom females as cameras improve.
Worried about insider data theft? Here’s one solution
Who just downloaded all of your company’s marketing collateral? Why did that software developer double the capacity of her cloud storage drive? Should that sales manager really have access to the entire recruiting database?
Canadian analytics company Interset uses machine learning and pattern recognition to flag this sort of anomalous behavior, often the precursor to intellectual property or data theft. Originally focused on secure file sharing and audit trail reporting, the company (formerly FileTrek) just disclosed another $10 million in funding to expand its advanced threat detection capabilities. The lead investors are Toba Capital and software company Informatica.
“If you can understand the normal patterns, you get a fingerprint of how people work,” said Interset CEO Dale Quayle. “We look for the anomalous behavior that could signal a change.”
One customer, a semiconductor manufacturer that owns thousands of patented processes and technologies, used Interset’s software to uncover a coordinated theft involving more than a half-dozen contractors who were copying upwards of 500,000 files daily. (The investigation is ongoing, so the company prefers to remain anonymous.)
Interset’s behavioral analytics technology is installed alongside a company’s existing data sources, where it correlates information and seeks patterns. It is priced as a subscription: about $50 per year per monitored data source, Quayle said.
Alerts about potential threats are sent to security teams in natural language so they are easy to comprehend. That’s a big plus for under-resourced organizations, said Paul Calatayud, chief information security officer for healthcare software company Surescripts. His company has used Interset’s software for about six months.
“We can define what good behavior looks like and then block everything else. … When someone steps out of the norm, then that is what my team investigates,” Calatayud said.
Interset previously disclosed a $10 million Series B round in 2012, led by Anthem Venture Partners, Telesystem, and Ontario Emerging Technologies Funds. Quayle previously led data center management company Integrien, sold to VMware in 2010.
ALSO WORTH SHARING
Adobe misses its second quarter. The biggest concern: the software company sold only 517,000 subscriptions to its Creative Cloud applications, way lower than the 573,000 that analysts anticipated.
Friend-to-friend transfers via Facebook. The new service, initially available in the United States, is linked to debit cards issued by MasterCard or Visa.
British cybersecurity firm raises $18 million. Darktrace’s software uses machine learning technology to adapt defenses over time.
Cisco leads appreciable growth for security “appliances.” Revenue for the product category grew 8.3% last year to $9.4 billion. The fastest growing region was Latin America.
This startup helps mobile apps run faster. Stealthy Twin Prime has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding led by DFJ Ventures and True Ventures. It claims to increase delivery speeds by more than 100%.
Grounded? Google goes back to the drawing board with its drone design.
MY FORTUNE BOOKMARKS
This is where Google says Glass went all wrong by Ben Geier
Yes, there is such a thing as a robot petting zoo by Chris Morris
In sexism trial, Kleiner Perkins partner explains giving give of erotic poetry by Kia Kokalitcheva
How Tim Cook found out he’d be Apple’s CEO by Ben Geier
ONE MORE THING
Not ready for its close-up. Hertz’s well-intentioned, yet creepy, plan to install video cameras in rental cars.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Technomy Bio: The big picture on transformation. (March 25; Mountain View, California)
Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit: Crossing the divide. (March 30 – April 1; Las Vegas)
AWS Summit. First in a series of cloud strategy briefings. (April 9; San Francisco)
Knowledge15: Automate IT services. (April 19 – 24; Las Vegas)
RSA Conference: The world talks security. (April 20 – 24; San Francisco)
Forrester’s Forum for Technology Leaders: Win in the age of the customer. (April 27 - 28; Orlando, Fla.)
MicrosoftIgnite: Business tech extravaganza. (May 4 – 8; Chicago)
NetSuite SuiteWorld: Cloud ERP strategy. (May 4 – 7; San Jose, California)
EMC World: Data strategy. (May 4 - 7; Las Vegas)
SAPPHIRE NOW: The SAP universe. (May 5 – 7; Orlando, Florida)
Gartner Digital Marketing Conference: Reach your destination faster. (May 5 – 7; San Diego)
Cornerstone Convergence: Connect, collaborate. (May 11 - 13; Los Angeles)
Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference: JP Morgan’s 43rd invite-only event. (May 18 - 20; Boston)
MongoDB World: Scale the universe. (June 1 - 2; New York)
HP Discover: Trends and technologies. (June 2 - 4; Las Vegas)
Brainstorm Tech: Fortune’s invite-only gathering of thinkers, influencers and entrepreneurs. (July 13 - 15; Aspen, Colorado)
VMworld: The virtualization ecosystem. (Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, 2015; San Francisco)
Dreamforce: The Salesforce community. (Sept. 15 - 18; San Francisco)
BoxWorks 2015: Cloud collaboration solutions. (Sept. 28 - 30; San Francisco)
Gartner Symposium ITxpo: CIOs and senior IT executives. (Oct. 4 - 8; Orlando, Florida)
Oracle OpenWorld: Customer and partner conference. (Oct. 25 - 29; San Francisco)